As an enthusiastic entrepreneur with experience in founding and growing start- up companies, Dr Lachlan Blackhall has combined his love of business and skills in engineering and mathematics to become an inspiring teacher, mentor and innovator.
While completing his PhD studies in engineering and applied mathematics at ANU, Lachlan founded InnovationACT, a business planning and entrepreneurship outreach program. Seven years later, InnovationACT has given out more than $300,000 in awards and grants to business ideas and entrepreneurs. It has more than 1,000 university staff and students participating in its activities and has led to the formation of many high-tech start-up companies.
InnovationACT is now a major part of the ACT innovation community and was awarded the Best Community Engagement and Outstanding Excellence in Collaboration awards by the Business and Higher Education Round Table in 2012.
After finishing his PhD, Lachlan co-founded Reposit Power, a technology company that designs systems for grid-deployed energy storage. It supports the addition of renewable power onto the national energy grid. Reposit Power has raised funds from private investors and has received a number of federal and state government grants.
Lachlan remains an adjunct lecturer at ANU and teaches masters-level engineering courses at the ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science. He continues to supervise students and has designed an engineering power lab for advancing research and teaching around grid-connected renewable energy generation and distribution.
Lachlan is a passionate advocate of education and outreach in entrepreneurial and innovation circles. He has led outreach activities—mostly robotics workshops—for primary, secondary and tertiary students independently and through Questacon. Lachlan also teaches in Malaysia, Pakistan, Uganda and Kenya.
Recognising his contribution to innovation and entrepreneurship in the Canberra region, Lachlan was recently named as an ACT finalist in the 2015 Young Australian of the Year.